WASHINGTON

President Barack Obama has sent Congress a new budget that seeks to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade through cuts in government spending and higher taxes on the wealthy. At the same time, he wants to boost spending in key areas such as transportation and education.

The spending blueprint is certain to spark an electionyear battle with Republicans, who are vowing to oppose Obama’s tax hikes. They contend the president is not doing enough to attack a dangerous deficit problem.

In a fact sheet previewing the budget, the administration sought to cast the debate as a battle to protect the middle class following decades of eroding security and a deep recession.

“ We must transform our budget from one focused on speculating, spending and borrowing to one constructed on the solid foundation of educating, innovating and building,” the administration said.

Obama was scheduled to speak this morning to students at Northern Virginia Community College to highlight the budget’s education initiatives.

Jack Lew, the president’s chief of staff, made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to promote the spending initiative as a balanced approach that will focus on the short-term imperative to provide more support to the economy while attacking long-term deficits.

While administration officials defended the plan as a balanced approach, Republicans attacked the effort for failing to do more to restrain the deficit, which Obama had promised in 2009 to cut in half by the end of his first term.

“ We’ve been waiting for over three years for this president to put forward credible solutions to challenges before us. President Obama has presided over four straight trillion-dollar deficits, breaking promise after promise when it comes to job creation, deficits and the debt,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Ryan is preparing an alternative to Obama’s budget that will be similar to a measure that the House approved last year but failed in the Senate.

This year’s budget debate is expected to dominate the presidential contest and congressional elections with the issue not finally resolved probably until a lame-duck session of Congress after the November election when lawmakers will have to decide what to do with expiring Bush-era tax cuts and looming across-the-board spending cuts.

Obama’s spending plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 projects a deficit for this year of $ 1.33 trillion. That would mean four straight years of trillion-dollar plus deficits.

Under Obama’s outline, the deficit would decline to $901 billion in 2013 with continued improvements shrinking the deficit to $575 billion in 2018.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Democrats did not want to vote on Obama’s spending plan, so he would once again put it forward for a Senate vote where he predicted it would fail as it did last year.



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